FALL RIVER, Mass. — A Massachusetts judge on Thursday denied a request from former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez to move his trial in the fatal shooting of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd to a different county.
In Fall River Superior Court, Hernandez’s lawyer, Michael Fee, urged a judge to move the trial out of Bristol County, citing what he called “sensational and inflammatory” media coverage he said has prejudiced potential jurors against his client. Fee said the press coverage of Hernandez has been “relentless” and often has included references to other crimes, including separate charges against the ex-Patriot in Suffolk County in the 2012 killings of two Boston men.
“This has poisoned the jury pool in Bristol County,” Fee said.
Fee cited two telephone polls commissioned by the defense in which more than half the respondents said they believe Hernandez is definitely or probably guilty in Lloyd’s killing.
Prosecutors, however, challenged the methodology and reliability of the polls, and said Hernandez had not shown that the jury pool in Bristol County has been tainted by media coverage.
Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh denied the motion to change venue, finding that Hernandez’s lawyers had not shown the Bristol County community’s prejudgment of the case is so substantial that picking impartial jurors would be impossible.
Hernandez, who is being held without bail, was taken to the courthouse, but he was not brought into the courtroom because he was feeling ill, Fee said.
Hernandez’s trial in Lloyd’s killing is scheduled to begin Jan. 9. Garsh said she plans to summon more than 1,000 people to pick a jury.
Photo via Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
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